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10 Takeaways from the Flikshop School of Business' Collaboration with Grow With Google

Updated: Jun 3

Last month, our Flikshop School of Business (FSB) team concluded a year+ in GrowWith Google’s Justice-Impacted Communities initiative. While all good things must come to an end, FSB celebrated that we were able to reach over five thousand scholars through our courses and workshops over the course of the Grow with Google partnership. 


This was a meaningful experience for our team, and after reflecting on the impact we’ve seen over the past year, we wanted to share some of our takeaways with you:


Flikshop School of Business WIRE
FSB Instructors pose with scholars from the W.I.R.E. DC.
  1. Our society should never be surprised by the ingenuity and tenacity found in formerly and currently incarcerated communities. Surviving the trauma of incarceration, people impacted by the legal system often cultivate tremendous inner strength and resilience. The women of W.I.R.E. DC displayed this beautifully in our workshop discussions. Our scholars possess talents and skills that have been honed and refined in the fire, ready to be put to use in the workforce and community in a powerful way, if only given the chance.

Jessica Snow Why Not Propser
FSB visits Why Not Prosper in Philadelphia.

2. We empower others when we encourage them to lean into their strengths. When working with Why Not Prosper, in Philadelphia, we affirmed that each individual scholar possessed their own unique superpower, one sorely needed in our society and networks. To see men and women take ownership of their superpowers with confidence was meaningful and inspiring for our team.


3. Employers who are not embracing second chance hiring, are missing out.  Flikshop CEO, Marcus Bullock shared  “There is so much brilliance hiding in the most marginalized corners of our community.” This brilliance was clearly evident in the men we met at Prince George’s County Men’s Transitional House. The level of initiative these men expressed, working tirelessly to pave their own way, is being overlooked by companies seeking their exact qualifications.


transitional house prince George Maryland Marcus Bullock Jessica Snow
FSB instructors pose with men at Prince George's Transitional House for Men

4. When stories are shared, stigma is dispelled. When our instructors shared their personal stories in the legal system with incarcerated men in Virginia, the idea of reinvention post-release became a reality.  By focusing on building a positive personal narrative, our scholars were able to shift the focus away from their past mistakes or difficulties and towards their potential for growth.


5. Stop, collaborate, and listen! There is a staggering number of organizations in our communities driven by capable and empathetic leaders. Many of these orgs are doing transformational work to assist folks coming home from prison. While some groups are learning how to band together to create even more impact, we can all be inspired to leave our silos, abandon the competition, and collaborate together to foster change in our communities. 


AWS Cohort Flikshop Entrepreneurship
Scholars build a winning pitch with FSB Cohort 109.

6. To invest in our community, we have to make time for our community.  Life at a tech startup moves FAST. With multiple projects underway, our entire team stays hustling as we seek to continually grow and improve Flikshop’s initiatives and impact. However, while it would be easy to keep our nose to the grindstone, the time we spend with our neighbors in reentry is time well spent. To instill hope, to encourage, to share, support, and empower– all of this is worth pausing the busy to-do list. 


7. Cultivating uncomfortable relationships are crucial to impact. To invest in our incarcerated scholars, we have to build partnerships with the entities that house and isolate them. This can be a nervous and uneasy process when you’ve lived the trauma of incarceration yourself.  But, when those with lived experience are taught by others with lived experience, there is almost an educational exhale that an immediate general understanding is established. We are grateful to our correctional partners who opened doors to allow us to spend time in the facility with the population we care about most. 


AWS Arlington Scholars Tech
FSB scholars learn about roles in tech from AWS employees.

8. Challenges are best viewed as opportunities.  Our FSB instructors (and many others impacted by the system) often struggle to receive clearance to teach inside prisons.  However, to connect with our neighbors on the inside, to build bridges and offer hope pre-release, developing these correctional relationships are crucial and turn a challenge into an opportunity to build empathy and systemic change. This included helping prison administration see the value of giving us access to teach men in the maximum security population, who are frequently denied such opportunities- a win for us for sure!


9. Numbers and data are great, but impact is greater. We were excited to reach our goal of over 5K scholars through the Grow with Google initiative, and recognize that these records are important, but it became evident early on that the interactions inside our courses and workshops, and the empowerment we could offer there, meant far more than a rising tally on a spreadsheet.

Marcus Bullock Jessica Snow Tony Belton
FSB instructors, Marcus Bullock, Jessica Snow, and Tony Belton

10. As leaders within Grow with Google’s justice-impacted communities, we experienced growth as well. Our relationships in the DMV (and nationwide) were strengthened. Our reach of impact was increased, but empowerment goes beyond teaching business tactics. The consistent reminder to recognize the inherent worth of every individual and nurture their aspirations was unforgettable for us.


While we are sad that the Grow with Google collaboration is over, we can’t wait to take what we learned during this initiative and propel the Flikshop School of Business to even greater heights in the coming months.. Stay tuned!


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